• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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Ebonyi indigenes split over impeachment threats on Elechi

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The impeachment threats on Martins Elechi, governor of Ebonyi, may have split indigenes of the state, but the recent reconciliatory meeting in Abuja convened by President Goodluck Jonathan with the concerned parties appears to hold hope for return of peace in the state, BusinessDay investigations can reveal.

The political tension in Ebonyi deepened recently following the move by 15 members of the state House of Assembly to impeach Martins Elechi, the state governor. But a source who claim to be close to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the state told our correspondent that the outcome of the Abuja meeting would see the soon resolution of the political imbroglio.

The impeachment move had polarised the state, with some members of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and youths describing the threat to remove Amaechi as unnecessary intimidation and arm-twisting.

The aggrieved youths also chided, Dave Umahi, the deputy governor, who they alleged was groomed by Elechi, only for him to turn round to “bite the finger that fed him.”

The youth, who said the impeachment, would not be allowed to sail through in Ebonyi State, took to the streets Monday in a peaceful protest. The demonstration followed an impeachment notice served the governor by the state House of Assembly the previous weekend.

The protesters carried placards with various inscriptions, claiming that Elechi has fulfilled all his electoral promises and that he is a man of peace, among others. Speaking to journalists, Leonard Igbokwe, leader of the youth group, said they were supporting President Goodluck Jonathan’s re-election.

Igbokwe said that the state was peaceful as all the youths and adult members of the PDP were working as a team, but that the political crisis started as a result of a man’s ambition to become the governor of the state “by all means”.

“All of a sudden, they brought in all manner of mischief; they unleashed cultists on those who share different view from theirs; they employed blackmail against the sitting governor,” he said.  The protesters numbering over 30,000 described the impeachment plot as a big mistake the lawmakers had ever made and a threat to the peace of the state and nation, calling on peace-loving people of the state to stop the fire now.

The deputy speaker and eight others had earlier disowned the impeachment notice, saying the House of Assembly has degenerated into a political platform for the realisation of Umahi’s political ambition.

Speaking on behalf of the nine lawmakers, Eni Uduma Chima said the declaration of six seats vacant by the House leadership was illegal as it contravened section 188(4) of the 1999 constitution as amended. However, speaking with BusinessDay on condition of anonymity, one of those calling for the impeachment of the governor who also said he was not a card-carrying member of any political party, accused him of ingratitude.

“I can’t imagine a man who was brought in to be governor at an old age manifesting the spirit of desperation the way Governor Elechi is doing. Instead of being grateful to God and to those who gave him the opportunity to be governor in the first place, he is now flexing muscle and running the state as his fiefdom,” the source said.

It would be recalled that the crisis in Ebonyi worsened following Governor Elechi’s decision to dump his party, PDP, for the Labour Party (LP). Following the emergence of his deputy, Umahi, as the PDP standard bearer for the gubernatorial election slated for April, Elechi, who was rooting for Onyebuchi Chukwu, a professor and former health minister, to succeed him as governor, became aggrieved at the turn of event.

The House had accused Elechi of corruption and gross misconduct.

Moreover, the Ebonyi State Council of Elders of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), has said that Elechi’s choice of Chukwu was rejected because of his (the governor’s) alleged autocratic disposition towards issues affecting the state.

However, a source who claimed to be privy to the Abuja meeting said: “From what I heard about the outcome of the meeting, it appears that the gladiators have agreed to sheath their guns. I was told that the President did not mince words in telling the parties where each went wrong. I believe the crisis will be over very, very soon.”

Regis Anukwuoji